At some point you are going to have to answer the question: Why have you come to Jesus? (Why do you follow Him?)
Jesus guarantees it.
You see, Jesus does not stand for casual followers or casual ‘believers.’ Not if they are going to call themselves by His name. (Any more than you would stand for someone calling themselves by your name and denying your nature.)
Jesus is going to thin out those who do not follow Him with all their heart and all their mind and all their strength. It is no problem for Him to do that with unbelievers, but it is surprising to see how this must occur with those who merely call themselves ‘disciples.’
In the example we have before us, it is by ‘hard’ teaching.
The unbelievers have already disqualified themselves from following Christ because they never desired to do so in the first place. If they could they would keep others from following Christ as well. The only reason they are nearby Jesus is because they love the power of the crowd, and they love to attempt to have influence over it. But they would rather earn their way into heaven, and they would rather stand upon their own merit. (Unfortunately they will fail, and they will fall. Only their pride will hold them up and keep them ‘strong.’) More unfortunate is this path – broad though it may be – is the pathway to eternal damnation. Make no mistake about it, your own merit will not save you; it cannot.
But for those who consider themselves Jesus’ ‘disciples’ simply by being in the midst of Jesus’ disciples, it will take hard teaching or the concerns of this life to cause them to fade away. Isn’t it fascinating Jesus would not only allow this but cause it to happen?
In an age when the ‘church’ will seemingly do anything and everything to draw and hold a crowd, Jesus would say, “No, let them go – they were never Mine in the first place. My Father did not draw them – their bellies did.”
We must be mindful false disciples are worse than no disciples. True disciples are to be about the business of turning their world upside down, and false disciples would never stand for that. Jesus makes disciples of those who will be made.